Lifting 40,000 Indonesian seaweed farmers out of poverty

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Lifting 40,000 Indonesian seaweed farmers out of poverty

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The global seaweed industry is booming. But many seaweed farmers remain in poverty.

A pro bono engagement led by Deloitte Australia and Indonesia for Oxfam helped build the case for Deloitte's inclusion on Fortune's "Change the World" list. The project aims to lift thousands of Indonesian seaweed farmers out of poverty. Fortune's annual ranking highlights the work of corporations making social benefit part of their core business strategies. Check out the full list to learn how Deloitte and other companies are doing well by doing good.

Indonesia produces 50% of the prized red seaweed market with 18% of the world’s crop from South Sulawesi. Much of the industry’s value is captured by global intermediaries.

A Deloitte Australia/Indonesia pro bono engagement for Oxfam set out to help 40,000 seaweed farming families get a better deal. Our Deloitte team travelled to South Sulawesi to gather information on the ground, interview industry stakeholders and formulate recommendations. Oxfam aided with meetings and logistics, as well as providing feedback on feasibility and linkages to existing programs and capability.

The project has delivered a clear roadmap and implementation strategy for 40,000 seaweed farming families to connect into effective groups that negotiate collectively and to establish a farmer-made seaweed product industry. The ideal outcome of these key initiatives is to encourage the formation of supportive and well-governed farmer groups. If farmers join a formal group and take on the role of the collector, they can potentially uplift their income by c.18%. The potential economy-wide benefit of this model would be $14m USD. If each seaweed farming family dedicated their spare time to producing a retail ready good, the family could benefit c.$500 p.a., an estimated economy-wide benefit of $20m USD.

The results of the Deloitte-Oxfam collaboration were inspiring for the farmers - and for us. One seaweed farmer was so positively impacted by Oxfam and Deloitte’s work, he named his son Oxfam.

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Published: April 2018

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